TREE TRAGEDY: Fireworks cancelled

VIDEO: Leigh Sharp

NEWS: How the incident unfolded on Monday

NEWS: Community shows its support for family

EDITORIAL: Tree tragedy felt by entire community

MESSAGE WALL: Show your support for the mother, family

UPDATE 10.30AM:  During a press conference at the City of Greater Bendigo this morning, acting chief executive Stan Liacos said the fireworks were cancelled out of respect for the Bendigo girl and her family.

“The decision has been made by the mayor with full support of management, to cancel the fireworks tonight,’’ he said.

"This is a very close community - it's a very close knit community and there would be very heartfelt concerns.

"In a place like Bendigo that family will be known by a lot of people.

"The tree itself was in the exclusion zone of where the fireworks would have been.

"We think it would be inappropriate to have fireworks celebrations this evening in that exact spot.''

Mr Liacos said the tree that struck the girl and her mother was inspected by senior City of Greater Bendigo arborists on September 19 and showed no outward signs of concern.

"We regularly monitor all the trees in all our prominent parks,'' he said.

The large grey box tree was removed from the park overnight, after being photographed and assessed by investigators.

Mr Liacos said members of the city’s parks and gardens team, particularly those who specialised in Rosalind Park, were deeply affected by the incident and counselled overnight.

"To the incredible passionate hardworking staff we have in the parks area - they're taking it very hard, that's their workplace, they live and breathe that space and look after it on behalf of the community and do a great job,'' he said.

"Clearly we've offered as much support as we can to our staff and to any other witnesses that were part of the incident.

"People should be assured our parks are in clean, safe impeccable condition - we are well known in Bendigo for our beautiful parks and there shouldn't be any concern in the community,'' he said.

"Our trees are inspected on a regular basis - incidents of this nature are extremely rare.''

The city will work with Victoria Police to assist with investigations for the coroner.

Victoria Police Greater Bendigo Police Service Area acting inspector Paul Gardiner said detectives continued to work with the family and others in the park this morning.

"There was other people in the park at the time and it is a very, very tragic event that has occurred so I imagine they would feel traumatised by what has occurred so we're making sure we follow up and offer all the support we can,'' he said.

You could only imagine what it must be like to try to deal with as a parent to lose a child and the set of circumstances that it's occurred in are extremely difficult for the family and for everyone else that was involved and that attended.

"A four year old has still got a lot of living yet to live and it's just very, very tragic.''

Acting inspector Gardiner said police members and all emergency services were also deeply affected by the tragedy.

"A number of the members that attended there last night have young children so I think your first instinct is to go home and hug your children and make sure they know you still love them and they're with us and we're fortunate,'' he said.

"It does pull at everyone's heart strings and so it should, this is a very, very sad loss for our community and for the families that are involved.

"We need to work through that together, as the City of Greater Bendigo do with their staff and make sure we provide our people the best support we can because these are a particularly sad set of circumstances.''

Mayor Barry Lyons said the accident was an absolute tragedy.

“It’s a tragedy that just can’t be described with words,’’ he said.

“This morning greater Bendigo will be waking to this news and many will be shocked and saddened.’’

UPDATE 9.55AM: Fireworks scheduled for Rosalind Park tonight have been cancelled.

UPDATE 9.15AM: Acting Inspector Paul Gardiner said police were liasing with City of Greater Bendigo and arborists to determine the cause of an incident yesterday where a four-year-old was killed by a falling tree. 

He said detectives were investigating and would prepare a report for the coroner. 

UPDATE 8.30AM: Council workers are currently lopping a tree, which killed a four-year-old girl and seriously injured her mother. 

Sergeant Damian Keegan says police are offering counselling to any witnesses, and is calling for anyone with information to come forward. 

Police would also like to speak to a woman who was on scene yesterday, to help police with their inquiries. 

City of Greater Bendigo acting chief executive Stan Liacos and mayor Barry Lyons will meet with media this morning to discuss the incident. 

UPDATE 8.15AM: A 31-year-old woman from Bendigo seriously injured in Bendigo's Rosalind Park remains in a stable condition at the Alfred Hospital. 

A hospital spokesman could not provide further detail. 

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